Not only do the fast-paced lifestyle and business dealings of the City of London lend themselves well to enjoying an after-work drink or two, the capital’s financial district is also a place of iconic landmarks and spectacular rooftops to observe them from. All in all, whether you’re after exclusive high-end spirits and fine wines, sunset cocktails with a view of Central London, or no-holds-barred happy hour relaxation, our guide to the best bars in the City of London will have you raising your glass in no time. Read on!
Guide to the best bars in the City of London
In this guide
The best bars in the City of London
- Florattica – Sumptuous rooftop retreat
- Madison – Rooftop glamour
- The Library Bar – Champagne and martini speakeasy
- Silverleaf – Intriguing cocktail in luxe setting
- The Arbitrager – London pride
- Sabine Rooftop Bar – Garden above the city
- Hithe + Seek – Wining by the river
- Oeno House – Premier wine boutique
- Black Rock – Award-winning whisky experts
- Yauatcha – Dim sum and drinks
- The Bootlegger – Prohibition bolthole
- Swingers – A drink on the green
- The Amicable Society of Lazy Ballerinas – Distinctive name, distinctive character
- The Alchemist – Most wondrous potions and elixirs
- Merchant House – Exhaustive range of spirits
- City of London Distillery & Bar – Distil your own gin
- Bounce – Fun and games and sports and drinks
- Mercer Roof Terrace – Enjoying the view from your cosy igloo
- Do Not Disturb – 1920s speakeasy at the Vintry & Mercer
- Be At One – Party central
- Humble Grape – Straightforward wine connoisseurs
- Demon, Wise & Partners – Limited edition of 100
- Social24 – Sophistication in the sky
- Jin Bo Law – Glam sky bar
The best bars in the City of London
Sumptuous rooftop retreat
Situated on the 11th floor in the Minories, this vibrant, colourful oasis boasts an eye-catching interior, matched only by the stunning views through the floor-to-ceiling windows, or from the al fresco terrace. The refined Florattica draws inspiration from East London's textile industry heritage, with its ceiling covered by a lavish floral installation. The cocktails are based on homemade recipes and guide you on a sensory journey through the world of flowers.
One of the capital’s most acclaimed rooftop bars, this spacious terrace atop the Penthouse One New Change is known for its splendid views of St. Paul’s Cathedral and London’s postcard-worthy skyline. You can get a variety of beverages in the bar and cocktail lounge, from champagne by the glass or bottle to seasonal cocktails. Madison also has a dining area that serves American classics with a creative twist.
Champagne and martini speakeasy
The Library Bar is an opulent members-only drinking den hidden behind a curtain at The Ned. The plush, intimate venue specialises in champagne and martinis, spoiling fans of fizz with 30 champagnes and wheeling over the martini trolley to Bond you up. Signature cocktails, spirits and fine wines are served as well, and you can snack on sophisticated bites such as mushroom arancini or tuna tartare.
Intriguing cocktail in luxe setting
A luxurious cocktail bar that provides patrons with a multi-sensory experience, Silverleaf is influenced by nature and favours minimalist presentation. You’ll find unexpected ingredients on the drinks menu, for example sake and miso, used in distinctive concoctions that are creatively depicted on the menu with textural paint swatches. There’s also a hidden area above the main bar.
Located between the Bank and Liverpool Street stations, The Arbitrager is a bit lacking in space, but that doesn’t stop it from doing a bang-on job of showcasing London’s indie brewers and distillers. All the beer and gin available here is brewed or distilled in the capital, with the craft brews on tap changing regularly. The gin list is extensive, and the bartender can also mix you up a classic cocktail as well.
Garden above the city
Another rooftop bar that basks in the curvaceousness of St. Paul’s Cathedral dome, Sabine is a secret garden space hidden above the City’s bustling streets. It features a glass-domed roof of its own to ensure natural light come rain or shine. Choose from a range of refreshing seasonal cocktails, nibble on one of the refined bar snacks, and enjoy the high life.
Wining by the river
Wine lovers seeking a sleek riverside spot with fabulous views will find Hithe + Seek extremely to their liking. The in-demand destination offers a wine experience that everyone can enjoy, from absolute beginners to knowledgeable connoisseurs. The experienced team here are always ready to talk shop with you and guide you through the comprehensive wine list of global vintages. Tantalising food such as steak sandwiches, sweetbreads and grilled octopus is available as well.
Premier wine boutique
A sleek, futuristic space for showcasing rarities from vineyards from all over the world, the London outpost of the international Oeno Group offers a terrace where you can sip your wine al fresco. The iconic wines on display are available to purchase and take home as well and include faraway places of origin such as China and Australia.
Award-winning whisky experts
This specialist whisky bar has claimed top honours in the UK for several years in a row. The centrepiece is a massive 185-year-old tree split in half, filled with home-blend whiskies and fitted with taps. Black Rock aims to dispel the mysteries surrounding whisky, offering an extensive choice of drams and cocktails. You can even blend your own unique bottle if you book the blending experience.
Dim sum and drinks
The City outpost of Yauatcha is an all-day Cantonese teahouse that knows how to put together an eye-catching presentation. The bar mixes a range of seasonal cocktails, as well as offering wine by the glass or carafe, sake and other drinks. There are two heated terraces to relax on, and you’d be hard-pressed to find better bar snacks than the dim sum crafted in the kitchen.
If you’re walking by the Nando’s on Lime Street and hear sounds of merriment coming from down below, you’re likely in the vicinity of The Bootlegger, a Prohibition-era speakeasy that hosts live music and mixes splendid cocktails. Look for the stairwell to descend into a dimly-lit den of conviviality, olden times and nights where the time simply melts away.
A drink on the green
If you’re looking to let off some steam with a few rounds of golf, head to the City branch of Swingers. The minigolf course here is modelled on an elegant 1920s English golf club, with quirks and challenges aplenty to keep you entertained. Everyone’s welcome here, even if you don’t plan on hitting the links, as there’s a number of modern bars serving cocktails, wine, beer and other drinks to choose from.
Distinctive name, distinctive character
The smart, stylish and distinctly named Amicable Society of Lazy Ballerinas serves an extensive array of fine wine and champagne, complemented by refined snacks and sharing platters that are designed to pair perfectly with the drinks. Champagne fans will be particularly delighted by the varied choice of classic and pink vintages. The luxurious marble setting at this bar is furnished with slick contemporary seating, making for a sophisticated yet not stuffy drinking spot.
Most wondrous potions and elixirs
The Alchemist is well-versed in the high mixology magicks, brewing up unique molecular concoctions and serving them in stunningly theatrical arrangements. The drinks are a marvel to imbibe as much as they are to look at, combining unexpected ingredients and flavours in delightful ways. Enhancing the mystique with the signature black-and-gold setting, the Alchemist in the City also features an outdoor terrace and serves an all-day menu of international crowd-pleasers.
Exhaustive range of spirits
The award-winning Merchant House is the sort of bar that’ll soothe, inspire and satisfy every kind of drinker. With 600 different whiskies, 400 rums and as many gins on offer, this bar certainly isn’t lacking in the spirit department. You can also enjoy an impressive array of creative cocktails in the warm atmosphere, with the upscale interior lined with shelves packed full of bottles. For an intimate experience, book the brig, a private bar for two with its own bartender.
Distil your own gin
The first gin distillery to take up residence in the City in 200 years, the City of London Distillery & Bar is home to the premium Whitley Neill gin. The award-winning bar venue shares its space with the distillery itself, with copper pipes and vats all around providing an unimpeded glimpse into the production process. You can take a tour of the facilities, sample different gins, drink various gin-based cocktails and even distil your own personalised gin.
Fun and games and sports and drinks
At the original Bounce location in Farringdon you can play ping pong, shuffleboard, beer pong or wonderball in a vibrant, neon-tinged setting. There’s plenty of fuel to keep the fun going, with pizzas, small bites such as nachos, cocktails, beer, wine and more all ready to get you into battling form. You can also catch all the major football fixtures on the screens here.
Enjoying the view from your cosy igloo
The restaurant and bar at the top of the Vintry & Mercer hotel boasts sweeping views of the city skyline, from St. Paul’s Cathedral to the Shard. There are various lunch and dinner menus to choose from if you’re feeling peckish, with groups happily catered to as well. You’re fine just ordering a drink, however, with an extensive wine list, assortment of classic cocktails and sizeable selection of international spirits all available. If the weather isn’t cooperating, retreat into the convivial interior or book the transparent igloo.
1920s speakeasy at the Vintry & Mercer
Mercer Rooftop Terrace’s secret sibling, Do Not Disturb, can be found beneath the Vintry & Mercer hotel. The discreet venue is a plush drinking den decorated with images of Ziegfeld girls. Once you find your way inside, you can relax with one of the classic barrel-aged cocktails such as the Negroni or the Manhattan, the house concoctions and even CBD-infused cocktails. During happy hour, certain cocktails are available as 2-for-1.
For classic uninhibited boozing, wild party vibes, banging tunes and expertly-mixed cocktails, queue up for one of the Be At One bars in the City. There are more than 100 cocktails of all sorts to be found on the drinks menu at these op art-decorated venues, from good old classics to creative new kids on the block. During the daily happy hour, 2-for-1 madness is the standard. The Liverpool Street branch boasts an outdoor terrace, while the Monument one goes late even on Sundays.
Straightforward wine connoisseurs
At Humble Grape Fleet Street, you can discover more than 400 different bottles of wines from throughout the world, including less-expected regions. This unpretentious wine bar lets you purchase bottles to take home – they can even deliver them locally if you’re feeling unsteady on your feet after a couple of glasses of organic, natural or biodynamic vintages. The bar also serves food that pairs well with wine and hosts a variety of events.
Limited edition of 100
The seated-only Demon, Wise & Partners can be found in the basement below The Arbitrager. The cosy cocktail den serves different cocktails and spirits, including absinthe, but its main draw is the titular Demon and Wise – a couple of cocktails made using exceptional spirits and reflecting our inner wickedness or maturity, depending on which one you go for. Fascinatingly, after they’ve been served 100 times, the recipe for each is changed.
Glam sky bar
With a giant golden pineapple dominating the interior and a number of events and parties throughout the year, Jin Bo Law is more than just a trendy rooftop bar with supreme views of some of the city’s most iconic landmarks – though it certainly fulfils that role admirably as well. With the capital’s skyline for backdrop, you can enjoy creative cocktails, Japanese spirits and other drinks, high above the City.